Event to honor Dismal Swamp ancestors

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

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Mubita LLC recently received a $5,000 matching grant opportunity from the Virginia Tourism Corp. to market the Great Dismal Swamp Ancestors Day of Remembrance program.

Mubita partnered with the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, an organization of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife division of the U.S. Department of Interior, to plan the event.

Both organizations designed and contributed funds for a new project naming ceremony plaque for Reflection Pier at Lake Drummond in Suffolk to increase tourism and education on the important Underground Railroad site and the people who lived and worked there.

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The Great Dismal Swamp Ancestors Day of Remembrance will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.

Guest speaker for the event will be Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe from the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia to the United States.

“The event purpose is to name the pier at Lake Drummond in recognition and honor of indigenous people, Moses Grandy, the Underground Railroad Freedom Seekers and Maroons of the Great Dismal Swamp and promote the Great Dismal Swamp, nationally and internationally, as a heritage tourism destination,” said Eric A. Sheppard, president of Mubita LLC and a descendant of Moses Grandy, who was enslaved in Camden County, North Carolina.

“I am fully supportive of this plaque naming concept.” said Chris Lowie, GDSNWR manager.

“These grant funds provide an important opportunity for communities across the commonwealth to accelerate recovery efforts and continue with their best-in-class marketing initiatives to attract new travelers,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism. “Increased visitation translates directly into revenue generation, underscoring tourism’s important role in stimulating economic growth and expansion”

The VTC Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by “leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships and extending the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand.”

A minimum of three Virginia entities must partner financially to apply for a grant. Partners can include cities, towns, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events and other tourism-related businesses.

Mubita, LLC is a Williamsburg-based heritage tourism and international project development firm that focuses on honoring the legacies of enslaved and freedom-seeking African descent ancestors and their freedom supporters, while also connecting people to business and cultural heritage tourism projects on the African continent.